Rethinking Marriage: Public and Private Perspectives

By Christopher Clulow; Tavistock Institute of Marital Studies | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
Theological images of marriage

Michael Sadgrove

I t is perhaps not usual to find a theological paper in company such as this. But as the poet quoted at the outset of Maggie Scarf book, Intimate Partners, puts it, "[in] every house of marriage there's room for an interpreter" ( Scarf, 1987, p. 7). A theologian is an interpreter of the stories people tell. He or she interprets those stories from the particular vantage point of belonging to a faith-community. Theologians can collaborate with interpreters from other disciplines in helping to draw the contemporary "map" of marriage. Perhaps it is the particular contribution of theology to draw attention to the "why" questions alongside the "how": if marriages are to work, it is important to ask why marriage exists, what it is for. That is the aim of this chapter.

It is worth making three points at the outset. (1) A very significant number of marriage ceremonies in Britain still take place in church, over half of them in the Church of England. No doubt, there are many reasons for getting married in church, not all of them consciously religious. But many couples would seem, in some way, still to want to place their marriages in the religious sphere, where language about God will be used to give

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Rethinking Marriage: Public and Private Perspectives
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Biographical Notes vii
  • Chapter One - Rethinking Marriage 9
  • Chapter Two - Learning from Divorce 27
  • Chapter Three - Public Perceptions: Private Experiences 39
  • Chapter Four - Theological Images of Marriage 51
  • Chapter Five - Fidelity as a Moral Achievement 71
  • Chapter Six - Sexuality and the Couple 95
  • Chapter Eight - "Good-Enough" Marriage 123
  • References 135
  • Index 141
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